“But we can still date, she says, like this is supposed to cushion the blow. I mean, I got married so I could stop dating, so I don’t see where ‘we can still date’ is a big incentive, since the last thing you want to do is date your wife…”– Billy Crystal as Harry Burns from “When Harry Met Sally”
“When Harry Met Sally” is one of my favorite movies. I’ve seen it dozens of times and can quote nearly every line. However, this particular quote never resonated with me until I got married. During my last viewing of the film, Harry’s words, “…the last thing you want to do is date your wife,” hung over my head like one of those comic strip thought balloons.
If you haven’t seen the movie, you need more context to understand why Harry made this statement. He had just discovered that his wife was moving out and she offered to keep dating as an olive branch. Obviously, Harry spoke these words out of pain and anger. But the sad fact is that there are many men who feel as if they no longer need to date their wives.
I’ve heard many guys at work grumble and complain about their wives’ wanting to go on periodic dates. One guy even told me, “I’m married to her. What more does she want?” How about a little romance? Or maybe, just some time to recapture the thrill and excitement of your first date.
I remember my first date with KayEm. I met her in our college newspaper’s office where we worked. We immediately developed a close friendship; however, she was dating another guy. When they broke up, I decided to make my move and give her a call.
My roommate must have thought I was crazy as I paced the apartment practicing what I would say in my best Barry White voice. I dialed her number and hung up the phone about five times before allowing her to answer. I felt like a nervous teenager complete with a stammer and cracking voice. After a few minutes of small-talk, we warmed up to each other and the conversation flowed. That night, I went without sleep savoring our tête-à-tête and formulating ways to spend time with her.
A book reading offered me my first opportunity. She had to attend it for a creative writing class. I had to attend it to be with her. The author spent the night pontificating on the virtues of cats. If not for my wanting to impress KayEm, I would have ditched cat-woman soon after her anecdote about her cat and a woodpecker.
After the reading, KayEm invited me back to her apartment to watch “Seinfeld.” Although this was not the most romantic way to end a date, it fit the mood. I wanted so much to kiss her, to hold her; however, the time wasn’t right. So I curbed my urges and bid her adieu at the end of the night. A few weeks later, our lips finally met. If Benjamin Franklin were alive, he could have flown a kite over our heads and discovered electricity again. From that moment, we were inseparable; happily ensconced in our couplehood.
I strive to keep the excitement and anticipation of that first date alive in our marriage. Although we’ve had our ups and down, we have finally hit our stride and are comfortably satisfied in our relationship. One thing that has contributed to our marital success is our periodic date nights.
I thought we were doing pretty good by going out on dates once a month, until I read an article in the New York Time titled “The Obama’s Marriage.” The articles details the difficulties of maintaining a marriage in the White House and what the Obama’s to do remain connected as a couple.
The Obama date-night tradition stretches back to the days when the president spent half his time in Springfield, Ill., reuniting at week’s close with his wife, who kept a regular Friday manicure and hair appointment for the occasion. Kantor, Judi. (October 26, 2009) “The Obama’s Marriage.” The New York Times Retrieved October 30, 2009)
If the leader of the free world can schedule a weekly date with his wife, surely I can carve out more time to connect with mine.
I encourage all men to continue courting your wives. Plan dates with her and make a commitment and a promise to that you’ll be there. Put it on the calendar and think of it as an obligation just as important as any other appointment. You’ll not only have a happier spouse, but you will also develop a deeper, more intimate relationship.